Ryoanji is best know for its zen rock garden–perhaps the most famous karesansui (枯山水) in the world. However, there is much more to see at Ryoanji, including a lake, these stairs, and other objects and paths.
While wandering through Gävle’s old town I came upon the Joe Hill Museum (Joe Hill-gården) from which I took today’s photo. Joe immigrated to the USA in 1902 and was executed in Salt Lake City for a crime; the museum contends he was innocent.
Japan’s temples and shrines, to me, are far more special alone. New Year’s Day crowds can be interesting too, but visiting a temple or shrine with loads of tourists isn’t usually my thing.
Here is a tip if you are on Koyasan. Some temples, like Kongobuji, close at 5. Dinner at most of the lodgings is at 5:30 or 6. Most people head back to their lodgings before 4 to relax before dinner. You are better off relaxing during the middle of the day when the places are crowded and experiencing the temples between 4 and 5 (or early in the morning) when they are empty.
Such was the case when I walked up through this gate to Kongobuji after 4 p.m. (passing many tourists scurrying back to their temple lodgings). I was the only one there!